Lunar Firework Frenzy

February 23rd, 2010


Last year during the Lunar Festival, my main really struggled with the Red Rocket’s Glare and Frenzied Firecracker.  She managed to achieve Elders of Northrend though only level 70 at the time (not without difficulty and determination) but with typical latencies in the 500s these two eluded her.  My major fear was that this year she would be left with just these two achievements shy of the violet proto-drake :( .  With a bit of research and experimentation I’ve now been able to get both achievements on six of my characters (woohoo) though my latencies haven’t changed significantly.  So my tips for those finding these achievements almost impossible are:

  • Reduce your latency as much as you can by temporarily deleting add-ons, reducing your video settings to the minimum, shutting down other programs that might interfere etc.  (Obviously faster internet or extra RAM can help too … ).
  • Choose your time and place – that is low-populated areas at less popular times (between 2-5am server time, certain week nights etc).  Isolated or little travelled areas are ideal.  However, the Red Rocket’s Glare requires a rocket launcher so, unless you are or have a friendly engineer with a rocket launcher, Darnassus or Exodar are good choices at the right times.  I kept my eye on the latency (mouse over computer icon on your toolbar) and on the rare occasions it dipped below 400 ms I took the opportunity to fire away – whether it was in the wilds of Desolace or an isolated stretch of Dragonblight, whether it was deserted Darnassus, Exodar or even Ironforge.  Parking your toon at the cluster launchers & then alt-tab-ing out of WOW for several minutes seems to reduce latency for a period long enought to launch those rockets.
  • Increasing your haste or speed with potions, spells etc may help.
  • Buy plenty of rockets so you don’t have to keep running back to the vendor (perhaps 20-40 of each).
  • Put the rockets at the beginning of your tool bar (number 1 or 2 position).
  • Track the achievements – this puts a timer up.
  • For Frenzied Firecracker use first-person view angled down so about all you see is the patch of ground where you will be clicking.
  • Spam away – with an eye on the timer.  In the case of the red cluster rockets hit the number key you’ve linked the rockets to as fast a possible.  In the case of the firecrackers hit the number key and click the mouse simultaneously and as fast as possible.  Some recommend looking at your cool down and trying to time it – and I’m sure it does work for some but higher latencies would make timing more difficult, checking your timer becomes distracting and just a microsecond hesitation will put you out of synch – and you will have to start all over again.
  • If you go over time, stop, allow the timer to reset and start again (or do it again later).  If you don’t, the timer will keep going and will show the overflow attempts (eg 2/10).  While it might appear that the timer is broken the real problem is not firing off enough fireworks before the timer resets.
  • Don’t sweat it – just take your opportunities as they come, don’t give up but do keep your perspective.  There are other titles, other drakes  …. life’s too short to get too frustrated over a bunch of pixels.
  • Good Luck – and Congratulations :)


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Honoring Our Elders

February 23rd, 2010

Elder Whitehoof 490

In response to the roar of fireworks, the giant two-headed demon wolf emerges from the moonlit lake, shimmering water streaming from his slavering jaws, and plunges into the milling crowd.   All over the three continents of Azeroth – in Horde and Alliance cities and villages, in sandy deserts, deep forests, snow covered mountains and enemy filled dungeons – Elders give wise sayings and ancient coins to all who brave various dangers to pay their respects.  And little red envelopes begin to clutter up the mail box.  In 2010 the  Love in the Air had barely started (and has just now abruptly ended) when the Lunar Festival arrived with a bang.   (In 2011, the order is reversed with the Love in the Air festival following the Lunar Festival.)  And it’s clear that this seasonal event, unlike the Valentine’s event of 2010, has not had a radical makeover with roughly the same activities, quests, achievements and rewards as in previous years.

EDIT There are it seems minimal changes to the festival in 2011 – with some changes of location of the Elders to adjust for the changed topography following the Sundering.   For example, in the Eastern Kingdomss the Stormwind Elder with the Lunar Harbinger, Fireworks vendor and launchers, have been moved to just outside the gates of Stormwind from the destroyed park area (despite what the quest locator might indicate.)  In Kalimdor, the Orgrimmar Elder is now on the roof area near the flightpoint rather than in the Valleyof Wisdom next to where Thrall’s Hall used to be, theTaurajo Camp elder has moved a little north to Vendetta Point,  the Elder of Auberdine can now be found on the southern outskirts of Lor’danel.  For changes in 2012 check Newly Remembered Elders of the Cataclsym .

In the Lunar Festival the druids of Nighthaven Moonglade celebrate the ancient defeat of the Burning Legion.  The festival revolves around fireworks, lunar festive finery, ancestral coins and elders – lots and lots of elders – in fact 75 of them in total.   The elders are ancient heroes of Azeroth  – generally night elf, tauren or dwarven – who serenely stand bathed in a column of moonlight in the most unlikely of places.  This festival draws heavily from Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in timing (following the Chinese lunar calendar), themes (clothing, food, fireworks, lanterns, red envelopes, red decorations) and even in legends (the story of Omen draws from the ancient Chinese legend of Nien).


  • The Lunar Festival (each of the major faction cities) – the Lunar Festival Emissary directs you to the Lunar Festival Harbinger in that city.  The Harbinger will then offer you…
  • Lunar Fireworks – launch 8 lunar fireworks and 2 cluster fireworks (these can be purchased from the Lunar Festival Vendor and fired from the launchers nearby).  Once completed you will receive a Lunar Festival Invitation (ports you to Moonglade when you stand in the circle of moonlight) and be offered the follow on quest …
  • Valadar Starsong– use you lunar invitation to travel to Moonglade and speak to Valadar Starsong.  The invitation is of limited duration but you can get another one from the Lunar Festival Harbinger if need be.  Once in Moonglade head north up to the village of Nighthaven.
  • Blessing of Elune – characters +40 will be offered a raid-style quest to defeat Omen (a force for good who had succumbed to the Burning Legion and was eventually defeated in Moonglade).  His shade sleeps in the waters of the lake to awaken during the Lunar Festival – by firing off fireworks or attacking his wolf servants with the Elune Candles.  Omen is a raid boss with 5.5 million hit points and strong attacks (cleave and star burst aoe) so that a group of players is required to defeat him.  The the Blessing of Elune buff is received by walking through the light focused on Omen’s corpse and is not dependent on whether the player participated in the kill.  The achievement and quest rewards (a fireworks pack, a elune lantern, some solide stone) will be obtained once the quest is finalised by handing it into to Valadar Starsong.   While you can pick up this quest line up again if you have completed it in previous years it does not seem possible to hand it in (as a duplicate item is detected).  Your toon will still get the hour long buff though.

The first three quests give experience and/or gold proportionate to the level of the player as well as rep with Cenarion Circle.  The last Quest gives an Elune stone (creates a temporary column of moonlight) as well as an Elune’s lantern with some solid stone to make more.

Lunar Festival Achievements

All these achievements with the exception of Elune’s Blessing are required for meta-achievement To Honor One’s Elders with the accompanying title Elder and therefore required for What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been and the Violet proto-drake.

Overall, this festival gives some experience, gold and novelty items but no highly coveted gear, pets or mounts.  What it does give is the chance to explore Azeroth (as you criss-cross the three continents in search of elders);  some significant boosts to the often elusive faction reputations (useful in purchasing mounts of other friendly races and, also, towards the achievements Somebody Likes Me and Ambassador of the Alliance/Horde with its accompanying title) and (since 2011) level archaelogy.  And of course, it is necessary for the violet proto-drake.

Perhaps after the almost blatant commercialism of the Love is in the Air event, the Lunar Festival is refreshing in its emphasis on remembering the past and honouring past ancestral heroes across factional divides.  In the often fast-paced, rapidly changing, iconoclastic, individualistic, commercialised environment of our “real lives”, a reminder that the past and, dare I say it, our elders not only have value but may even have wisdom to offer us may be opportune.


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Ahn’kahet: Old Kingdom can be a challenging dungeon, especially to those new to it.  It has a number of interesting boss encounters and it is wise not to take the trash mobs too lightly.  This guide looks at its history, location, quests, bosses, achievements, dungeon map, position of the Ahn’kahet brazier, as well as suggested approach and strategies.

Kilix the unraveler3 History: Ahn’kahet is the original location of Azjol-Nerub and home to the Nerubians.  While the upper kingdom was overun by the undead following the War of the Spider, the Nerubian rebels escaped to the Old Kingdom and its halls remained largely untouched by the scourge until recently.  However, in digging too deep they encounted at the subterrean heart of the Kingdom the hostile Faceless ones who are under the dominion of the imprisoned Old God, Yogg-Saron.  An earthquake then lilfted the Old Kingdom closer to the ground, exposing it to attacks from the Scourge.  Now old Nerubians, scourge and servants of the Old Gods fight for control of the Old Kingdom.

Location: Ahn’kahet Old Kingdom is located in the Pit of Narjun in eastern part of Dragonblight, just south of Icemist Village, north of alliance Star’s Rest (Alliance) and northwest of Agmar’s Hammer (Horde).  Either jump down into the pit or fight your way down the ramp.  The portal entry to Old Kingdom (OK) is to the left of the meeting stone through a long cavern.  The inner kingdom often simply referred to Azjol-Nerub is  immediately on the right of the meeting stone. (more…)

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Love is in the Air

February 9th, 2010

Having thrown myself into the Love is in the Air festival last year, I was confident that I knew what to do this year.  As I logged on in the first few hours of the festival, it rapidly became clear that this year things had changed – a lot.

Kwee Q Peddlefeet4My first inkling of change was the small booth festooned with pink hearts and bunting, attended by two goblins, Kwee Q Peddlefeet and new quest marks.  The second was the heart hovering over my hunter’s head.  I picked up the two dailies and new quest, and made a bee-line to the innkeeper to buy my perfume and tokens.   Confused, I drew a blank – no heart over the innkeepers head and no love tokens, cologne or perfume on sale.   Guards and other NPCs, with or without hearts over their hearts, were steadfastly pragmatic with no sign of potential romantic entanglement.

Like many other players in the last 24 hours, I was beginning to feel really disoriented and frustrated.  None of my web searches in the days before the festival had indicated that a radical change was in the air.  It was becoming increasingly obvious that the entrepreneurial goblins had staged a takeover of WOW’s valentine’s festival.  Friendly local innkeepers no longer sold perfume, cologne and love tokens.  Guards and citizens were no longer interested in exchanging tokens, gifts and pledge of love and friendship.  Hearts were no longer broken or mended.  And if this was so, how would players be able to get the needed items for the various challenges and achievements of the season.  A closer inspection of the booth revealed the goblin vendor (the lovely merchant) who traded almost everything needed for the season for the right number of love tokens.   But how were the love tokens obtained?  It gradually dawned on me that those new quests were the key.  As my frustration began to ebb away, it occurred to me that this new approach did have its merits.

So – how does it work?  In a nut shell, the festival no longer revolves around the exchange of tokens, gifts and pledges with NPCs, but rather the completion of new quests and dailies that reward us with love tokens which in turn can be exchanged for rose petals, candies, chocolates, arrows, rockets, etc.

What’s new?


  • A new quest line in which the hero is sent to investigate the suspicious involvement of the new purveyor of perfume by Inspector Snip Snagglebolt (a lead in quest comes from Junior Inspectors).  The quests involve sampling suspicious perfume, questioning a duped lover, chasing  the perfume spreader round Stormwind or Orgimmar and finally tracking him down at the Stormwind docks or Zeppelin platform in Org.  Completion of the quest line gives the achievement Dangerous Love while a daily (Crushing the Crown) becomes available (to all players) and opens up another quest line that leads the summoning of a trio of elite 80 bosses in Shadowfang Keep (for high-end players).
  • A daily that involves targeting 10 players and/or nps (eg with perfume or chocolate samples) and is rewarded by 5 love tokens.
  • Dailies in which the hero can collect 10 love charms to make a charm bracelet for one of four of their faction major leaders.  The daily for a specific race within the alliance or horde can only be picked up in that race’s capital.  Rewards include 5 love tokens and a specific buff.  Completing the daily for all four of your faction’s leaders gives Nation of Adoration Achievement.

Love charms

  • Once the player has the quest and a love charm making kit, charms will drop (looting not actually required though drop rate is variable) from mobs that give experience (ie mobs that are green or above to you).  Ten charms can be combined to form a bracelet.  Charms will continue to drop while you have the kit though drop rates can vary a lot. Charm bracelets can also be exchanged for one love token from the vendor.  The completion of 12 charm bracelets results in achievement Charming.

Dungeons Bosses

  • A triad of bosses that drop rare mount, pet and other goodies.  Minimum level to summon is, I think, 78.  Defeat of these bosses (the trio of Crown Chemicals Co Apothecaries) gives Tough Love achievement (not required for meta-achievement What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been).


  • Charming has replaced Unbestowed Friendship Bracelet
  • Rose petals, candies, boxes of chocolate, silver-shafted arrows, lovely dress box, dinner suit box, romantic picnic basket, love fool and Peddlefeet can all be purchased from the Lovely Merchant for the appropriate amount of love tokens (ranging from 1 love token for various perfumes to 40 for a truesliver shafted arrow which teaches you to summon Peddlefeet).

What’s much the same?

  • Players need to be targeted with silver arrows (Shafted) and rose petals (Fistful of Love).
  • Candies  and Chocolates need to be sampled, Lovely Dress box opened and Peddlefest learnt for (in order) the Be Mine!; Sweet Tooth; Lovely Luck is on Your Side and Permapeddle achievements.
  • The player needs sufficient to drink, some perfume (purchased from Lovely Merchant) and rosepetals before puckering up (Flirting with Diaster). Sraaz, a gnome pie vendor, can be found pathing around the forge in Ironforge while Jeremiah Payson, a cockroach vendor, can found in central ring of undercity.
  • Lonely? requires enjoying a buttermilk delight during a romantic picnic (set up picnic basket) in Dalaran with another player.  (Don’t forget the buttermilk as sharing the picnic is not sufficient to get the achievement.)
  • The rocket’s Pink Glare requires letting of 10 rockets in 20 seconds.  Rather simple (though can cause problems if you have lag or high latency rates).
  • For I pitied the Fool, Love fools (purchased from vendor) need to be deployed and pitied in various places (Wintergrasp;  Battle ring of Gurubashi Arena; Arathi Basin Blacksmith;   Culling of Stratholme; Naxxramus).  The player must actually enter Naxx which limits this achievement to 80s).
  • Ebon roses (for My Love is a Red, Red Rose) is available from 3 different Northrend bosses (Prince Keleseth in Utgarde Keep, Maiden of Grief in Halls of Stone and Prince Taldaram in Ahn’kahet).  [Red Roses are no longer available.]

I don’t doubt that the revamped festival is more streamlined and less subject to the whimsies of chance (the player can now select which items to buy rather than having to rely on the vagrancies of drops).  Nevertheless,the discovery that Kwee Q Peddlefest is working for a nefarious chemical cartel in Shadow Fang Keep and the heavy concentration of killing things to make tokens of love have disturbing undertones.   I wonder whether this more commercialised version in which gold hungry goblin merchants replace the love struck guards and citizens of our favourite cities may has not lost some of its original charm.  Beyond the superficial expressions of love as a commodity to be bought and sold or even a fad to fall in and out of, there is surely love that seeks the welfare of the loved one, a love that survives and endures.


See also

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Chasing Achievements

February 7th, 2010

I have often been amazed at what a dedicated WOW player …. no let’s be honest what I will do …. to gain a 10 point achievement.  A little over a year ago, my intrepid hunter almost gave up on her mad attempt to get through Corin’s Crossing, after dying for the fourth or fifth time with hardly any forward movement to show.  In her mid-40s, Eastern Plaguelands was a major challenge to her determination to complete Trick and Treats of Eastern Kingdoms.  She had already braved the Timbermaw tunnel for the equivalent achievement for Kalimdor but this was taking it to another level again.

DalaranSquirrel5 When, in mid-2008, Blizzard announced that they were introducing achievements, many players speculated about what rewards, upgrades or advantages these would bring.  After all, we werealready primed to grind or farm for higher levels, for gear upgrades and enhancements or for much coveted gold.  For the most part achievements have brought ephemeral, less tangible rewards – a flash of light, a distinctive sound and visible announcement of achievement to player, guild and nearby players; a probable “gratz “ (shorthand for congratulations) from fellow guildies and a warm feeling of accomplishment.  (more…)

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Little did I know, as I leant over my brother’s shoulder a couple of years ago, that my curiosity would lead me to a deep immersion in the strange, virtual world of Azeroth (created by Blizzard’s World of Warcraft).

crystalsong-dragon-448x336Over the years, my brother has introduced me to a number of fantasy games and had often shown off the wonders of his latest favourite.  This one, more than all the others, drew me in with its rich colors, enticing landscapes, strange characters and different levels of discovery.   I soon graduated from looking over his (and his wife and daughter’s) shoulder (and interrupting them with questions) to occasionally getting the chance to play a couple of toons of my own (a night elf hunter and druid).  I loved it.  The joy of exploring new landscapes, of gaining skills and levels, of solving puzzles left me thirsting for more. These first glimpses and occasional short forays into the elfin forests of Teldrassil were my first introduction to the fascinating, wonderful, ambiguous and sometimes frustrating, world of Azeroth. (more…)

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